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Samsung to make strategic $110M investment in struggling Apple partner Sharp

Reuters has the story:

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is set to invest about $110 million in struggling Sharp Corp, a deal that will ensure it a smooth supply of large-sized TV panels and help bolster the Japanese company's chances of survival. The 10 billion yen investment will give Samsung a 3 percent stake in Sharp, three sources familiar with matter told Reuters. "Rather than the amount of investment, it is the partnership with Samsung that Sharp gains that is important. Sharp gains an opportunity to use the Samsung platform," said Tetsuro Ii, chief executive officer of Commons AM, a Tokyo based investment fund.

A deal would come as Sharp tries to boost utilization at its Kameyama display plant in central Japan. The Japanese company, has had to slash production of Apple iPad screens at the facility since the start of the year, sources told Reuters in January, as consumer demand shifts to the smaller iPad mini, for which Sharp is not a supplier.

Sharp continues to struggle to get its IGZO displays into the market. Taking money from rival Samsung doesn't seem like something it would do—unless it was in dire straits. It is interesting that Apple doesn't have any (more) cash to invest in Sharp.

Well, whatever Sharp has to do to get this 32-inch 4K IGZO display (pictured above) to market we'll tolerate.

Google and Apple stock prices in 2013 look like a zero-sum game


AAPL stock has been in the news a lot lately, whether it comes to Warren Buffett's opinion on buy-backs, the issue of preferred stock, or even its teetering market cap, but a closer look at the company's NASDAQ fluctuation over the last year oddly shows a parallel to GOOG.

The graph above illustrates both Apple and Google's highs and lows since September 2012, and, for the most part, they clearly mirror each other. The companies notably entered the zero-sum game in December 2012 and have continued this trend to present day.


The graph above is a more micro look at 2013, and it shows, again, that Google goes up every time Apple goes down.

Bloomberg noted on Wednesday that Google's shares are now trading at "25 times profit, compared with a price-to- earnings ratio of less than 10 for Apple," and it highlighted how the gap is at its widest since June 2005.

Google's U.S. shares have risen 35 percent in the last year, while Apple, even though its capitalization is $100 billion more than Google's, has dropped 21 percent.

AAPL shares are actually up $6.37 at $446.03 this morning, despite receiving another downgrade from R.W. Baird's William Power, according to Barron's, but Google shares notably hit an all-time and closed at $821.50 on Monday.

B Riley & Co. analyst Sameet Sinha attributed Google's record to strong growth in all areas of the Internet, but Apple, she told Bloomberg, has "done well in devices, nothing else."

Business Insider reported that Citigroup also cut their estimates on Wednesday because of, as CNET phrased it, softened demand for both iPhone and iPad, and they forecasted Apple would fall short of its own $41 billion to $43 billion revenue guidance figures for the March quarter with just $40.45 billion in sales.

Although Google is now investors' choice stock, Apple has the potential —especially with its rumored iWatch and Apple TV products—to regain the spotlight and break out of the zero-sum game.

January comScore numbers: Apple Up, Android down

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ComScore's January 2013 numbers are out today, and it has Google (and everyone else) losing ground to Apple. Android dropped for the first time to 52.3-percent from 53.6-percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers, while Apple climbed 3.5 points to 37.8-percent. Both OS's make up over 90 percent of the base.

What's strange is that the three big U.S. carriers report that iPhone makes up anywhere from 66 percent to 85 percent (VerizonSprint, and AT&T) of activations, so it would seem that Apple's market share should be much higher.

Meanwhile, Apple out-gained everyone including Samsung on the manufacturers' distribution:

Apple ranked as the top OEM with 37.8 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers (up 3.5 percentage points from October). Samsung ranked second with 21.4 percent market share (up 1.9 percentage points), followed by HTC with 9.7 percent share, Motorola with 8.6 percent and LG with 7 percent (up 0.3 percentage points).

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